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Different Roads to the Same Destination?

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Sustainable Materials Management and Circular Economy are both frameworks for considering the way we interact with the world's resources. Different organizations and institutions across the world have adopted one philosophy or the other. To some, there seems to be little

Sustainable Materials Management and Circular Economy are both frameworks for considering the way we interact with the world's resources. Different organizations and institutions across the world have adopted one philosophy or the other. To some, there seems to be little overlap of the two, and to others, they are perceived as being interchangeable. This paper evaluates Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) and Circular Economy (CE) individually and in comparison to see how truly different these frameworks are from one another. This comparison is then extended into a theoretical walk-through of an SMM treatment of concrete pavement in contrast with a CE treatment. With concrete being a ubiquitous in the world's buildings and roads, as well as being a major constituent of Construction & Demolition waste generated, its analysis is applicable to a significant portion of the world's material flow. The ultimate test of differentiation between SMM and CE would ask: 1) If SMM principles guided action, would the outcomes be aligned with or at odds with CE principles? and conversely 2) If CE principles guided action, would the outcomes be aligned with or at odds with SMM principles? Using concrete pavement as an example, this paper seeks to determine whether or not Sustainable Materials Management and Circular Economy are simply different roads leading to the same destination.

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2017-05

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Incorporating auditory models in speech/audio applications

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Following the success in incorporating perceptual models in audio coding algorithms, their application in other speech/audio processing systems is expanding. In general, all perceptual speech/audio processing algorithms involve minimization of an objective function that directly/indirectly incorporates properties of human perception.

Following the success in incorporating perceptual models in audio coding algorithms, their application in other speech/audio processing systems is expanding. In general, all perceptual speech/audio processing algorithms involve minimization of an objective function that directly/indirectly incorporates properties of human perception. This dissertation primarily investigates the problems associated with directly embedding an auditory model in the objective function formulation and proposes possible solutions to overcome high complexity issues for use in real-time speech/audio algorithms. Specific problems addressed in this dissertation include: 1) the development of approximate but computationally efficient auditory model implementations that are consistent with the principles of psychoacoustics, 2) the development of a mapping scheme that allows synthesizing a time/frequency domain representation from its equivalent auditory model output. The first problem is aimed at addressing the high computational complexity involved in solving perceptual objective functions that require repeated application of auditory model for evaluation of different candidate solutions. In this dissertation, a frequency pruning and a detector pruning algorithm is developed that efficiently implements the various auditory model stages. The performance of the pruned model is compared to that of the original auditory model for different types of test signals in the SQAM database. Experimental results indicate only a 4-7% relative error in loudness while attaining up to 80-90 % reduction in computational complexity. Similarly, a hybrid algorithm is developed specifically for use with sinusoidal signals and employs the proposed auditory pattern combining technique together with a look-up table to store representative auditory patterns. The second problem obtains an estimate of the auditory representation that minimizes a perceptual objective function and transforms the auditory pattern back to its equivalent time/frequency representation. This avoids the repeated application of auditory model stages to test different candidate time/frequency vectors in minimizing perceptual objective functions. In this dissertation, a constrained mapping scheme is developed by linearizing certain auditory model stages that ensures obtaining a time/frequency mapping corresponding to the estimated auditory representation. This paradigm was successfully incorporated in a perceptual speech enhancement algorithm and a sinusoidal component selection task.

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2011

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Best value implementation program for contractors

Description

The price based marketplace has dominated the construction industry. The majority of owners use price based practices of management (expectation and decision making, control, direction, and inspection.) The price based/management and control paradigm has not worked. Clients

The price based marketplace has dominated the construction industry. The majority of owners use price based practices of management (expectation and decision making, control, direction, and inspection.) The price based/management and control paradigm has not worked. Clients have now been moving toward the best value environment (hire contractors who know what they are doing, who preplan, and manage and minimize risk and deviation.) Owners are trying to move from client direction and control to hiring an expert and allowing them to do the quality control/risk management. The movement of environments changes the paradigm for the contractors from a reactive to a proactive, from a bureaucratic
on-accountable to an accountable position, from a relationship based
on-measuring to a measuring entity, and to a contractor who manages and minimizes the risk that they do not control. Years of price based practices have caused poor quality and low performance in the construction industry. This research identifies what is a best value contractor or vendor, what factors make up a best value vendor, and the methodology to transform a vendor to a best value vendor. It will use deductive logic, a case study to confirm the logic and the proposed methodology.

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2011

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Smooth surfaces for video game development

Description

The video game graphics pipeline has traditionally rendered the scene using a polygonal approach. Advances in modern graphics hardware now allow the rendering of parametric methods. This thesis explores various smooth surface rendering methods that can be integrated into the

The video game graphics pipeline has traditionally rendered the scene using a polygonal approach. Advances in modern graphics hardware now allow the rendering of parametric methods. This thesis explores various smooth surface rendering methods that can be integrated into the video game graphics engine. Moving over to parametric or smooth surfaces from the polygonal domain has its share of issues and there is an inherent need to address various rendering bottlenecks that could hamper such a move. The game engine needs to choose an appropriate method based on in-game characteristics of the objects; character and animated objects need more sophisticated methods whereas static objects could use simpler techniques. Scaling the polygon count over various hardware platforms becomes an important factor. Much control is needed over the tessellation levels, either imposed by the hardware limitations or by the application, to be able to adaptively render the mesh without significant loss in performance. This thesis explores several methods that would help game engine developers in making correct design choices by optimally balancing the trade-offs while rendering the scene using smooth surfaces. It proposes a novel technique for adaptive tessellation of triangular meshes that vastly improves speed and tessellation count. It develops an approximate method for rendering Loop subdivision surfaces on tessellation enabled hardware. A taxonomy and evaluation of the methods is provided and a unified rendering system that provides automatic level of detail by switching between the methods is proposed.

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2011

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A control engineering approach for designing an optimized treatment plan for fibromyalgia

Description

There is increasing interest in the medical and behavioral health communities towards developing effective strategies for the treatment of chronic diseases. Among these lie adaptive interventions, which consider adjusting treatment dosages over time based on participant response. Control engineering offers

There is increasing interest in the medical and behavioral health communities towards developing effective strategies for the treatment of chronic diseases. Among these lie adaptive interventions, which consider adjusting treatment dosages over time based on participant response. Control engineering offers a broad-based solution framework for optimizing the effectiveness of such interventions. In this thesis, an approach is proposed to develop dynamical models and subsequently, hybrid model predictive control schemes for assigning optimal dosages of naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, as treatment for a chronic pain condition known as fibromyalgia. System identification techniques are employed to model the dynamics from the daily diary reports completed by participants of a blind naltrexone intervention trial. These self-reports include assessments of outcomes of interest (e.g., general pain symptoms, sleep quality) and additional external variables (disturbances) that affect these outcomes (e.g., stress, anxiety, and mood). Using prediction-error methods, a multi-input model describing the effect of drug, placebo and other disturbances on outcomes of interest is developed. This discrete time model is approximated by a continuous second order model with zero, which was found to be adequate to capture the dynamics of this intervention. Data from 40 participants in two clinical trials were analyzed and participants were classified as responders and non-responders based on the models obtained from system identification. The dynamical models can be used by a model predictive controller for automated dosage selection of naltrexone using feedback/feedforward control actions in the presence of external disturbances. The clinical requirement for categorical (i.e., discrete-valued) drug dosage levels creates a need for hybrid model predictive control (HMPC). The controller features a multiple degree-of-freedom formulation that enables the user to adjust the speed of setpoint tracking, measured disturbance rejection and unmeasured disturbance rejection independently in the closed loop system. The nominal and robust performance of the proposed control scheme is examined via simulation using system identification models from a representative participant in the naltrexone intervention trial. The controller evaluation described in this thesis gives credibility to the promise and applicability of control engineering principles for optimizing adaptive interventions.

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2011

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HTLS upgrades for power transmission expansion planning and operation

Description

Renewable portfolio standards prescribe for penetration of high amounts of re-newable energy sources (RES) that may change the structure of existing power systems. The load growth and changes in power flow caused by RES integration may result in re-quirements of

Renewable portfolio standards prescribe for penetration of high amounts of re-newable energy sources (RES) that may change the structure of existing power systems. The load growth and changes in power flow caused by RES integration may result in re-quirements of new available transmission capabilities and upgrades of existing transmis-sion paths. Construction difficulties of new transmission lines can become a problem in certain locations. The increase of transmission line thermal ratings by reconductoring using High Temperature Low Sag (HTLS) conductors is a comparatively new technology introduced to transmission expansion. A special design permits HTLS conductors to operate at high temperatures (e.g., 200oC), thereby allowing passage of higher current. The higher temperature capability increases the steady state and emergency thermal ratings of the transmission line. The main disadvantage of HTLS technology is high cost. The high cost may place special emphasis on a thorough analysis of cost to benefit of HTLS technology im-plementation. Increased transmission losses in HTLS conductors due to higher current may be a disadvantage that can reduce the attractiveness of this method. Studies described in this thesis evaluate the expenditures for transmission line re-conductoring using HTLS and the consequent benefits obtained from the potential decrease in operating cost for thermally limited transmission systems. Studies performed consider the load growth and penetration of distributed renewable energy sources according to the renewable portfolio standards for power systems. An evaluation of payback period is suggested to assess the cost to benefit ratio of HTLS upgrades. The thesis also considers the probabilistic nature of transmission upgrades. The well-known Chebyshev inequality is discussed with an application to transmission up-grades. The Chebyshev inequality is proposed to calculate minimum payback period ob-tained from the upgrades of certain transmission lines. The cost to benefit evaluation of HTLS upgrades is performed using a 225 bus equivalent of the 2012 summer peak Arizona portion of the Western Electricity Coordi-nating Council (WECC).

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2014

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Understanding plasticity and fracture in aluminum alloys and their composites by 3D X-ray synchrotron tomography and microdiffraction

Description

Aluminum alloys and their composites are attractive materials for applications requiring high strength-to-weight ratios and reasonable cost. Many of these applications, such as those in the aerospace industry, undergo fatigue loading. An understanding of the microstructural damage that occurs in

Aluminum alloys and their composites are attractive materials for applications requiring high strength-to-weight ratios and reasonable cost. Many of these applications, such as those in the aerospace industry, undergo fatigue loading. An understanding of the microstructural damage that occurs in these materials is critical in assessing their fatigue resistance. Two distinct experimental studies were performed to further the understanding of fatigue damage mechanisms in aluminum alloys and their composites, specifically fracture and plasticity. Fatigue resistance of metal matrix composites (MMCs) depends on many aspects of composite microstructure. Fatigue crack growth behavior is particularly dependent on the reinforcement characteristics and matrix microstructure. The goal of this work was to obtain a fundamental understanding of fatigue crack growth behavior in SiC particle-reinforced 2080 Al alloy composites. In situ X-ray synchrotron tomography was performed on two samples at low (R=0.1) and at high (R=0.6) R-ratios. The resulting reconstructed images were used to obtain three-dimensional (3D) rendering of the particles and fatigue crack. Behaviors of the particles and crack, as well as their interaction, were analyzed and quantified. Four-dimensional (4D) visual representations were constructed to aid in the overall understanding of damage evolution. During fatigue crack growth in ductile materials, a plastic zone is created in the region surrounding the crack tip. Knowledge of the plastic zone is important for the understanding of fatigue crack formation as well as subsequent growth behavior. The goal of this work was to quantify the 3D size and shape of the plastic zone in 7075 Al alloys. X-ray synchrotron tomography and Laue microdiffraction were used to non-destructively characterize the volume surrounding a fatigue crack tip. The precise 3D crack profile was segmented from the reconstructed tomography data. Depth-resolved Laue patterns were obtained using differential-aperture X-ray structural microscopy (DAXM), from which peak-broadening characteristics were quantified. Plasticity, as determined by the broadening of diffracted peaks, was mapped in 3D. Two-dimensional (2D) maps of plasticity were directly compared to the corresponding tomography slices. A 3D representation of the plastic zone surrounding the fatigue crack was generated by superimposing the mapped plasticity on the 3D crack profile.

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2014

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A P-value based approach for phase II profile monitoring

Description

A P-value based method is proposed for statistical monitoring of various types of profiles in phase II. The performance of the proposed method is evaluated by the average run length criterion under various shifts in the intercept, slope and error

A P-value based method is proposed for statistical monitoring of various types of profiles in phase II. The performance of the proposed method is evaluated by the average run length criterion under various shifts in the intercept, slope and error standard deviation of the model. In our proposed approach, P-values are computed at each level within a sample. If at least one of the P-values is less than a pre-specified significance level, the chart signals out-of-control. The primary advantage of our approach is that only one control chart is required to monitor several parameters simultaneously: the intercept, slope(s), and the error standard deviation. A comprehensive comparison of the proposed method and the existing KMW-Shewhart method for monitoring linear profiles is conducted. In addition, the effect that the number of observations within a sample has on the performance of the proposed method is investigated. The proposed method was also compared to the T^2 method discussed in Kang and Albin (2000) for multivariate, polynomial, and nonlinear profiles. A simulation study shows that overall the proposed P-value method performs satisfactorily for different profile types.

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2013

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Small molecule detection by surface plasmon resonance: improvements in sensitivity and kinetic measurement

Description

Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) has emerged as a popular technique for elucidating subtle signals from biological events in a label-free, high throughput environment. The efficacy of conventional SPR sensors, whose signals are mass-sensitive, diminishes rapidly with the size of the

Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) has emerged as a popular technique for elucidating subtle signals from biological events in a label-free, high throughput environment. The efficacy of conventional SPR sensors, whose signals are mass-sensitive, diminishes rapidly with the size of the observed target molecules. The following work advances the current SPR sensor paradigm for the purpose of small molecule detection. The detection limits of two orthogonal components of SPR measurement are targeted: speed and sensitivity. In the context of this report, speed refers to the dynamic range of measured kinetic rate constants, while sensitivity refers to the target molecule mass limitation of conventional SPR measurement. A simple device for high-speed microfluidic delivery of liquid samples to a sensor surface is presented to address the temporal limitations of conventional SPR measurement. The time scale of buffer/sample switching is on the order of milliseconds, thereby minimizing the opportunity for sample plug dispersion. The high rates of mass transport to and from the central microfluidic sensing region allow for SPR-based kinetic analysis of binding events with dissociation rate constants (kd) up to 130 s-1. The required sample volume is only 1 μL, allowing for minimal sample consumption during high-speed kinetic binding measurement. Charge-based detection of small molecules is demonstrated by plasmonic-based electrochemical impedance microscopy (P-EIM). The dependence of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) on surface charge density is used to detect small molecules (60-120 Da) printed on a dextran-modified sensor surface. The SPR response to an applied ac potential is a function of the surface charge density. This optical signal is comprised of a dc and an ac component, and is measured with high spatial resolution. The amplitude and phase of local surface impedance is provided by the ac component. The phase signal of the small molecules is a function of their charge status, which is manipulated by the pH of a solution. This technique is used to detect and distinguish small molecules based on their charge status, thereby circumventing the mass limitation (~100 Da) of conventional SPR measurement.

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2013

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Transmission expansion planning for large power systems

Description

Transmission expansion planning (TEP) is a complex decision making process that requires comprehensive analysis to determine the time, location, and number of electric power transmission facilities that are needed in the future power grid. This dissertation investigates the topic of

Transmission expansion planning (TEP) is a complex decision making process that requires comprehensive analysis to determine the time, location, and number of electric power transmission facilities that are needed in the future power grid. This dissertation investigates the topic of solving TEP problems for large power systems. The dissertation can be divided into two parts. The first part of this dissertation focuses on developing a more accurate network model for TEP study. First, a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) based TEP model is proposed for solving multi-stage TEP problems. Compared with previous work, the proposed approach reduces the number of variables and constraints needed and improves the computational efficiency significantly. Second, the AC power flow model is applied to TEP models. Relaxations and reformulations are proposed to make the AC model based TEP problem solvable. Third, a convexified AC network model is proposed for TEP studies with reactive power and off-nominal bus voltage magnitudes included in the model. A MILP-based loss model and its relaxations are also investigated. The second part of this dissertation investigates the uncertainty modeling issues in the TEP problem. A two-stage stochastic TEP model is proposed and decomposition algorithms based on the L-shaped method and progressive hedging (PH) are developed to solve the stochastic model. Results indicate that the stochastic TEP model can give a more accurate estimation of the annual operating cost as compared to the deterministic TEP model which focuses only on the peak load.

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2013